Dallas experimental noise band the Paper Chase are indie rock's best answer to the paranoid, violent ramblings of ICP or Wu-Tang Clan, and their fourth full-length album, Now You Are One of Us, presents more of the same disconcerting, cacophonous, yet strangely melodic and catchy music that always seems to find frontman John Congleton on the verge of going absolutely insane. The record is vaguely conceptual, the ideas of brutality, extraterrestrial beings, and death pervading the 15 tracks, whose titles explain what's happening on the record better than anything else could ("Wait Until I Get My Hands on You," "Delivered in a Firm Unyielding Way Lingering for Just a Bit Too Long to Communicate the Message 'I Own You'"). Congleton is fixated on the idea of possession and macabre sado-masochism. "If he gets chopped up to bits, must have been an accident" he sings in the stalker-ish "At the Other End of the Leash," over a slow, eerie piano and heavy breathing, complementing the "So go and scream all you want/'Cause that only excites me" of "You're One of Them Aren't You?" But despite his outward obsession with control, the music behind his lyrics reveals his utter lack of it. It's not always loud, but it is always messy, the piano clashing with the guitar, which then slams painfully against the drums and bass, coming together to make a tense, chaotic conglomeration of sounds that somehow still works really, really well. Perhaps it's because Congleton's voice is so oddly inviting (even when he sings "into the oven you go") and melodic, a mix between Wayne Coyne's and Isaac Brock's; perhaps it's because of the spooky, string-laden interludes with narrations of encounters with spirits; perhaps it's just because of the vulgar, voyeuristic appeal of witnessing something that seems as if it will destroy itself at any moment in one huge ball of contumacious burning noise. Whatever the reasons are, Now You Are One of Us shouldn't be missed.
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown